by Angie Kramer | Mar 24, 2023 | Freelance management, Project Management
Managing freelancers can be a complex and time-consuming process, particularly for teams that work with multiple freelancers at the same time. One of the most significant challenges in managing freelancers is tracking their availability, work quality, and billing status. This is where vendor management systems (VMS) come into play. A VMS is a software platform that allows businesses to manage their contingent workforce, including freelancers and contractors, in a centralized and streamlined manner. However, despite the benefits that VMS offers, many team leads and managers are not using them. Why is that so? The answer is simple; it’s too hard and takes too much time.
The primary reason why team leads and managers avoid using your VMS to manage their freelancers is that the software is too complicated and time-consuming. VMS platforms require significant investment in terms of time and effort with onboarding and daily input to learn and use effectively. In most cases, team leads and managers have to navigate through multiple screens and interfaces to perform even basic functions such as adding a new freelancer or tracking their work status. This can be incredibly frustrating, particularly for team leads and managers who are already dealing with a host of other tasks and responsibilities.
Moreover, VMS platforms often require extensive training and onboarding, which can further add to the already substantial time commitment. Many team leads and managers are not willing to invest the time required to become proficient in using VMS. They would rather focus on their primary responsibilities, such as managing their teams and delivering on project goals.
Another critical issue with VMS platforms is that they often lack user-friendliness. The software can be overly complicated, with too many features and options that are not relevant to the user’s needs. This can make it challenging for team leads and managers to navigate the platform effectively, resulting in frustration and decreased productivity.
And let’s not forget the overall cost of some of these systems…
As a result of these challenges, many team leads and managers are not adequately documenting their interactions with freelancers, making it challenging to track important metrics such as work quality, availability, and billing status. This can lead to missed deadlines, incorrect billing, and a general lack of visibility into the freelancers’ work status. These issues can have a significant impact on project outcomes and business success.
How can you forecast and plan, if you don’t know what’s going on?
Okay, so what’s the plan? The trick is to give your team leads and managers a system that’s actually enjoyable to use, while still being user-friendly and not taking up too much of their precious time. Basically, you need to make it EASY for them. This means a system with intuitive interfaces and straightforward features that cater to their specific needs. The platform should also be flexible enough to accommodate different workflows and processes, so that team leads and managers can tailor it to their unique requirements.
One of the best solutions for managing freelancers is to use a project management software that focuses specifically on freelancer management like JobBliss. This will provide team leads and managers with an easy-to-use interface that allows them to manage their freelancers, track their work status, and document their interactions without taking up too much time.
The most significant benefits of using a freelancer focused project management software is that it allows team leads and managers to track important metrics such as work quality, availability, and billing status. This information is critical for project planning and decision-making, as it allows team leads and managers to make informed decisions about which freelancers to work with and when. Moreover, by tracking this information, team leads and managers can identify areas for improvement and take steps to optimize their workflows.
Finally, using a project management software with a freelancer management focus allows team leads and managers to collaborate with their freelancers in real-time.
So, here’s the deal – if you want to have all the data you need when working with and managing freelancers, you’ve got to make it easy for your hiring managers to document their interactions. And that’s where JobBliss comes in – it’s a user-friendly solution that can give you all the information you need with just a few minutes of interaction each day.
Wrap up / TL;DR:
- Vendor management systems (VMS) can be too complex and time-consuming for team leads and managers to use effectively, resulting in poor documentation and difficulty in tracking important metrics related to freelancers.
- Team leads and managers often avoid using VMS, preferring to focus on their primary responsibilities, such as managing their teams and delivering on project goals.
- Project management software with a freelancer management module provides an easy-to-use interface, real-time collaboration, and integration with other project management tools, making it a more efficient solution for managing freelancers.
- Using project management software with a freelancer management module allows team leads and managers to track important metrics such as work quality, availability, and billing status, leading to improved decision-making and optimization of workflows.
- Real-time collaboration and integration with other project management tools enable team leads and managers to manage their freelancers more efficiently and effectively.
by Strive Mazunga | Mar 20, 2023 | Freelance management, Project Management
Whether it’s the Great Resignation driving workers out of the office or a general awakening amongst employees to follow their bliss, the contingent workforce is growing as freelancing becomes an increasingly attractive option for many. According to recent data by Upwork, 20% of the US population — 10 million people are considering a professional move to freelancing work, and 2 million of those individuals have begun freelancing during the last year.
This shift toward the gig economy (which includes Uber drivers and Etsy sellers but also professional freelancers and fractional executives) was already in play before the global pandemic. However, it has accelerated over the past two years. In the pre-pandemic booming job market, individuals were traditionally attracted to freelancing because of its flexibility and variety. However, over the last year, two million more Americans have entered the contingent workforce out of necessity, as employers shed full-time jobs in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, professionals who are initially forced into remote work have come to appreciate the work-from-home lifestyle. In fact, according to the Upwork survey, 34% of remote workers are not excited about returning to the office. And of the two million who began freelancing this year, 73% cited a reluctance to return to the office as the primary driver.
So what does this mean for businesses who rely on a contingent workforce to get the job done?
On one hand, one would assume more freelancers entering the market would mean supply exceeds demand. But demand is very (VERY) high. Over 90% of companies depend on freelancers and plan to increase their use. According to research conducted by Robert Half and Associates, 38% of surveyed companies said they’re hiring more independent contractors, and 45% said freelancers already make up more than half their workforce. And while the US is still in the lead when it comes to freelancer dependency, other parts of the globe such as India, Latin America and China now have a widening talent gap. Tech talent, such as front-end developers, user-experience and digital marketing experts, and system security managers are in the highest demand, with finance and administrative experts also experiencing strong demand.
It is also true that not everyone who decides to freelance is cut out to be successful as a freelancer. The A-players are still the A-players and they are in heavy demand. A survey of more than 1900 freelancers across 30 countries conducted by the Agile Talent Collaborative in partnership with the University of Toronto found that 60% or more of freelancers have enough or too much work, report satisfying relationships with clients, say they’ll meet their financial goals, and remain committed to freelancing. So it’s not just a matter of employers choosing freelancers and contingent workers. Freelancers — especially those with successful track records, years of experience and unique talent — are choosing YOU.
So how does the employer/contingent worker dynamic have to change to adapt to an economic shift where businesses are more dependent than ever on high-value contractors? It boils down to a few things. First, the employer mindset needs to change from a transactional form of engagement toward a relationship built on mutual value and respect. Second, employers need to adopt a longer-term view and build a contingent workforce talent bench. And finally, in lockstep, the systems and processes for managing non-full-time talent need to evolve to align with this new way of work.
It’s about talent, not transactions
While the contingent worker marketplace has undergone swift and dramatic change in the last year or so, the way employers engage and manage freelancers is still built on an old-school, archaic full-time job business model.
Freelancers and their services are either regarded as a transactional commodity by their employers (I need something from you, I get it and you leave), or, freelancers are basically owned body and soul. They are incorporated so completely into the company that they are as close to a full-time employee as it gets.
Right now, it seems to be one or the other. But just as the nature of work has evolved quickly into a hybrid model, the employer/contingent worker relationship also needs to evolve in a more hybrid way.
First and foremost, employers need to recognize, value and manage external contingent workforce talent in the same way they recognize, value and manage internal talent. In short, if you want high-quality external expertise, you’ve got to pay their rates. Now, the prices freelancers demand for their services sometimes give employers sticker shock. However, what people need to understand is that professional freelancers bring knowledge and speed and industry insights to your team that you just don’t have in your full-times. According to a report by Talent Alpha, more than 67% of enterprises believe they are challenged with an acute shortage of qualified applicants with requisite skills. And close to 60% of enterprises state that the existing workforce lacks technical skills, given the pace of technology change. Contributing factors include rising attrition rates, lack of internal project readiness and a fast-changing skills landscape..
by Angie Kramer | Mar 17, 2023 | Freelance management, Project Management
Are you in the process of expanding your external workforce? Does your company work with freelancers and independent contractors?
According to reports, 80% of large corporations are planning to change their recruitment strategies to utilize more non-traditional workers in the coming years.
Building an external workforce has numerous advantages. From allowing for more lean operations to facilitating easier scaling, tapping into the gig economy is an all-round win.
However, there is one area where companies are facing problems. This is disorganized workforce management.
Managing a decentralized workforce requires a centralized, highly organized approach.
Are your hiring managers are jumping between twenty applications to manage their freelancers? This is a huge waste of time. It also results in almost zero visibility into projects and external resources.
Fortunately, you can put an end to this. Keep reading to find out why it’s imperative to get organized around workforce management and how to start.
Why Flexible Workforce Management Is More Complex
Remote working and freelancing has been on the rise for some time, and the pandemic has only but fast-tracked this shift.
All of a sudden companies are having to manage rapidly dispersing teams. This has caught many organizations a bit off-guard.
Before, managers dealt with teams under one in-house roof. They did this through established processes and systems.
Now they’re scrambling to hire, communicate with, and oversee fluid teams. To do this, they often end up having to jump around between a myriad of tools, platforms, and virtual workspaces.
Not only does this eat up valuable time, but it’s also a recipe for confusion and mistakes.
Managing a flexible workforce is inherently more complex. If you don’t get organized, the administrative side of an external workforce can quickly become a morass of siloed information.
The last thing any organization wants is to have administrative processes straddling tools that don’t talk to each other.
In an entirely in-house setting, this can still work to a degree. But as soon as you have external teams distributed over the country or globe—things can get very inefficient and messy.
Next thing you know external team members aren’t going through an onboarding process, signing the right documents, etc. etc.
Cobbling Tools Together Is Not the Answer
If hiring managers don’t have an organized process for working with external teams, they start cobbling tools together.
For instance, your recruiting team might be relying on a combination of an Excel spreadsheet (or ten), LinkedIn, Upwork, and Gmail. For business organization, your managers might be jumping between a mix of Trello, Slack, Gmail, Excel, Google Drive, and Microsoft 365.
There are a few reasons why this type of “tool cobbling” is not the answer.
It Silos Information and Robs You of Visibility
For one, it disperses and silos information.
Besides wasting time, this can also result in miscommunications.
It also provides a complete lack of visibility over projects and external teams.
If you want to find out the status on a project, you’ll have to speak to the applicable manager. They then might need to contact the various external team members to get an accurate progress report. Depending on the size of the team and the time zones it operates in, this could take hours or days.
Cobbling Tools Wastes Vast Amounts of Time
Lastly, cobbling together tools also wastes managers’ focus and energy. Having to jump back and forth between tools is very disruptive and decreases concentration levels.
Research has shown that it can take almost half an hour for humans to regain focus after their workflow is disrupted.
This squanders team managers’ and hiring managers’ energies. It also wastes the time of anyone else who needs to gain visibility into a project’s status.
Disorganized Workforce Management Will Keep You at the Back of the Pack
Besides robbing managers of time and eroding visibility around projects and external resources—disorganized workforce management will also keep you at the back of the pack.
If you want to stay ahead of the competition, it’s essential that you start streamlining external workforce management.
Currently, only a handful of organizations utilize a specialized digital platform to consolidate their external workforce management processes. But this is likely to change quickly over the coming years.
As companies see the pitfalls of disorganized management processes, they’re going to look for solutions. Once they implement these, they will gain the competitive advantage.
Not only will they save time, but they’ll also be able to better source and organize top external talent. This allows companies to pivot, scale, save resources, forecast talent needs, etc.
If your hiring managers are still cobbling tools together, you’re going to lose the competitive edge.
How to Start Organizing External Workforce Management
If you want to start organizing external workforce management, you need to migrate to a tailored solution like JobBliss.
JobBliss is a freelancer/contractor management system. We provide companies with the tools to build, manage, and track their external workforce.
With JobBliss you can:
- Unite internal and external teams
- Scale activities like support and task reporting
- Access project management tools
- Forecast your external workforce needs
- Source freelance talent from the JobBliss marketplace
- Build and consolidate your company’s external talent database
- Access a single source of truth for data
- Remove information silos
- Accurately report and access up-to-date activity and project data
- …And more
JobBliss revolutionizes the way companies hire. With the old way, hiring managers have to go through dozens of different steps just to get the point of onboarding a freelance hire.
With JobBliss you can skip unnecessary steps. Such as manually checking past projects for potential freelancers to “rehire”.
Instead, hiring managers can view external resources at a glance in your external talent database. If there isn’t suitable talent for a new project, they can simply browse the JobBliss marketplace.
From here, onboarding steps are streamlined to the point of being virtually hands-free. Once new talent starts, hiring managers, team managers, and anyone else can ascertain their performance at a glance.
Bring Your External Workforce Management Into the Future With JobBliss
External workforce management can become an administrative nightmare if you don’t organize it right. Are your hiring managers still cobbling tools together to get things done?
Are they knee-deep in an Excel spreadsheet swamp? Or worse relying on paper lists and word of mouth?
If the answer is yes, then you need JobBliss. JobBliss is your one-stop solution for building and managing your external workforce. With JobBliss your project teams will get access to a single source of truth. As well as clear, centralized visibility over projects and external talent.
Sign up for a 30-day free trial and bring your external workforce management into the future.
by Angie Kramer | Jan 1, 2023 | Forecasting, Freelance management, Project Management
According to statistics, 74 percent of employers think that remote working is going to be the new normal.
Remote and freelance work has a host of benefits, both for employees and companies. Workers report higher levels of productivity and happiness. And companies can achieve enhanced agility and substantial overhead savings.
However, there are a variety of challenges that come with managing a flexible workforce. These include communication breakdowns, centralized decision-making, disorganization, and more.
Fortunately, an FMS can help you solve these issues and increase productivity.
Not sure what an FMS is? Keep reading to find out why you need to utilize an FMS for managing your flexible workforce.
What Is An FMS?
FMS stands for “freelancer management system.”
An FMS is a tool or platform for managing freelancers, contractors, and flexible workforces.
It consolidates and streamlines all of the financial, legal, and operation components of working with freelancers, gig workers, contractors, etc.
Here at JobBliss, our FMS also gives you access to the JobBliss Marketplace. Here you can source new freelance talent to incorporate into your flexible workforce.
Besides this, with JobBliss you also get a centralized overview of all projects, both past, and present. You can see all history, both financial and project-related. You can also add new contract resources to your database and group and organize teams.
You can also onboard and save contracts and documents by project or resource.
These functionalities make it easy for managers to work with external talent. They can post projects, access approved resources, or onboard new freelancers.
Why Your Company Needs To Start Using An FMS
Like we mentioned above, freelance and remote work is famous for increasing productivity rates. However, there are some inefficiencies that can develop.
Without an FMS, managing a growing workforce of freelancers and contractors can become overwhelmingly complex. Managers end up wasting time:
- Hunting for documents
- Carrying out inefficient onboarding processes
- Checking up on projects
- Dealing with invoices
Contingent workers also come with a maze of possible legal pitfalls. As well as log-in issues, IP issues, and more.
Here are some of the ways that having an IMS can eradicate these problems.
An FMS Makes It Easier To Find New And Existing Freelancers
Tapping into freelance talent can save companies time and money and make your operations more agile. However, if you don’t have a streamlined process for this, finding and onboarding freelancers can be heavily time-consuming.
If you’re utilizing an external recruitment agency, you might also be wasting money on fees and markups.
With an FMS like JobBliss, companies can increase their speed to market with a private, searchable database. Through this, they can reduce time spent finding and procuring contract resources and freelancers.
Besides this, you can also take advantage of existing talent in your database. JobBiss gives you access to all the freelancers and contractors your company has worked with in the past.
Instead of asking Joe from design for the contact details for that freelancer he worked with last year, you can access everything you need to rehire them right within your JobBbliss dashboard.
By consolidating resources like this you can cut down on a lot of wasted time, and have a clear overview of existing resources and your past projects with them.
Centralized Access To Invoices, Contracts, And Onboarding Processes
Another advantage of using an FMS is centralized access to documents, invoices, and onboarding materials.
This can improve and speed up a lot of the processes that commonly create friction between employers and freelancers. For instance, centralized, organized access to freelancer invoices helps managers ensure that freelancers get paid timeously.
This is important for maintaining good relationships with contractors and ensuring your projects remain their top priority.
When it comes to onboarding, having a comprehensive, complete, and standardized set of onboarding materials is vital. Not only does it save managers time, but it also ensures freelancers don’t get sent old materials.
If your managers are working from things like shared folders, it’s very easy for complications to arise with old document versions.
Along with saving you time, using an FMS can also help you achieve better legal compliance.
When working with multiple freelancers and independent contractors, things can get uncompliant fast if you don’t have strict procedures in place.
With an FMS, you can store all of the required legal documentation in one place. You can also store it according to the project. This helps ensure that all relevant contracts, IP forms, etc are signed before the project commences.
You Can Effortlessly Track Results
Research shows that teleworking and freelancing come with significantly increased productivity. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check up on projects and ensure they’re moving forward according to schedule.
Without an FMS, it can be hard to keep tabs on all the active projects you might have running.
Manually checking in with freelancers and contractors might involve emailing them, phoning them, or reaching out on a collaboration tool to have a conversation about the status of the project.
If you have to do this for more than one project, it can eat up valuable amounts of time.
Instead, using an FMS allows you to keep tabs on all your active (and past projects). You get a top-down view of project statuses with just a few clicks.
If you feel like a project needs more human resources, you can quickly and easily source and invite resources to a project.
Keeping track of outcomes is one of the most important parts of managing a flexible workforce. Before companies tried to maintain increased productivity by monitoring “time spent at the desk.” With a flexible workforce, outcome-based monitoring is a much more effective approach.
Do You Need A Good FMS?
If you’re managing a flexible workforce, you need an FMS. It’s that simple.
An FMS will help you streamline management tasks. It will also increase compliance. As well as make searching for new talent and resources quicker, cheaper, and simpler.
Are you in need of a good FMS? If so, JobBliss is here to fill the gap.
JobBliss gives you ultimate visibility over resources, projects, invoicing, onboarding, and more.
You can get an instant overview of time, money, and effort spent. You can also easily search for new resources in the JobBliss Marketplace, and consolidate existing ones.
Try JobBliss for free today.
by Angie Kramer | Sep 5, 2022 | Forecasting, Freelance management, Project Management
The global workforce has changed over the past two years. A recent survey reported 87 percent of work teams use internal and external resources. This includes contractors, freelancers, and other “gig” workers’ special skill sets.
Yet most systems and processes focus only on the full- or part-time employees. Many other long-standing workplace practices create barriers to non-traditional workers. Thus, today’s leaders face new challenges to building integrated, high-performing teams.
Expanded workforces don’t always translate into high efficiency. Keep reading to learn how to create a high-performing team with these blended workers.
Key Steps to Building High Performing Teams
The pandemic has forever changed the way we do business. Skilled freelancers and contractors are now a hot commodity. Companies now use different tools and methods for interacting with team members.
Integrating in-house and remote staff can challenge the team dynamics. Thus, we need to re-think our approaches to achieving high-performing teams. The following information discusses steps used by several successful experts.
1. Remove Perceived Silos
A silo mentality describes a mindset built around isolation. These people believe they’re part of an elite group. They hold the key to specific knowledge and resources that’s too important to share.
This culture creates pockets of information and divides the workforce. Thus, different departments must wait to work on their piece of the project. The creates redundancies and reduced productivity.
Each department has a limited data set to work with. A better solution may be out there, but no one can see it from their “silo”. Teach the workgroup strategies to build bridges.
Develop Positive Team Dynamics
Optimizing team dynamics relies on the members’ behaviour, communication, and collaboration. Do they show up, participate, and contribute to a positive vibe? Evaluating the level of positive vs negative dynamics can predict their effectiveness.
High-functioning groups rely on the right team dynamic environment. One survey asked 5,000 executives to describe their best team experience. The results highlighted three keys for great team dynamics.
- Align end-point goals and the strategies to reach them
- Develop trusted, high-quality, and open communication
- Ensure management support to experiment, take risks, and innovate.
Building effective team dynamics increase motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction. Your business benefits from lower absenteeism and turnover. This increases the return on investment by raising customer satisfaction and sales.
Team building and strengthening isn’t a one-time task. It needs ongoing attention to maintain positivity while adjusting to change. Ensure that management leads by example and fosters trusting relationships with the workers.
Establish clear goals and define who is accountable for specific tasks. Develop an emotionally safe team culture to encourage sharing innovative ideas. Identify and focus on the internal and external workforce’s unique strengths.
Integrate Internal and External Teams
Nurture the development and alignment of visions across the contingent workforce. Gaining buy-in from all areas can create more efficient processes. This includes co-operations between those who manage each part of the whole team.
Watch for redundancy or conflict in all facets of the process. If found, bring it to the team’s attention and work together to optimize the plan. This helps team members understand and support the rationale for changes.
Individuals gain trust when they feel like they know the “whole story”. Team members will adapt more easily to changes and promote progress toward the goals.
2. Foster Motivation to Promote High Performance
At our core, we’re motivated by seeing our efforts move toward and achieve set goals. Even if the endpoint is difficult, being confident that we will succeed motivates us. Highly effective people tend to set more challenging goals and remain committed.
Look for leaders that demonstrate this quality when assembling your workforce. Managers must get to know their team members and learn what motivates them.
Onsite and external workers want to feel like they’re respected and vital contributors. If their expectations aren’t met, employee performance suffers, and they often leave. This disrupts team dynamics and progress.
Elicit input from all team members to learn what drives them. Then act on their responses. This shows that management values their insight which increases motivation and satisfaction.
Provide Job Training to Meet Changing Needs
Employees don’t like to feel confused or unprepared. Provide essential training for all team members to help them perform at a high level. It’s also important to maintain a bird’s-eye view of how various roles interact.
Discuss the team’s task achievement with the group. Ask them to describe obstacles or challenges they face in reaching endpoints. In some cases, the team may find that cross-training can overcome some of these problems.
Training methods and schedules must remain dynamic and flexible. Gone are the days of presenting inservices at a set location and time. Your freelancers and contractors may be scattered across the globe.
New information technology (IT) products allow you to disseminate training efficiently. This keeps your team at the top of their game and allows smooth role adjustments.
Leverage Your Diverse Team’s On-Demand Skills
As your team develops workflows, they may find a need for additional skill sets. The JobBliss Marketplace allows hiring managers to find the right people. This public database contains the full-time, freelancers, and contractors you’re looking for.
Hiring managers have tools to oversee all management activities. They’re given the required permissions to approve resources. The user-friendly dashboard also promotes confidence that they’re meeting the team’s needs.
3. Take Advantage of Digital Collaboration Tools
Digital collaboration tools provide an easy way to unite contingency workers and processes. Today, fewer people attend in-face meetings. These digital platforms make it easy to connect without time spent commuting.
Team members can also collaborate on shared documents in real-time. This allows everyone to provide input and see others’ contributions. Fostering high-level communication drives more efficient planning.
If you need to collect information, data management tools facilitate this process. This gives the team current knowledge for making key decisions. The team’s confidence rises and creates more excitement with each success.
Are You Looking for a Comprehensive Management Tool?
Companies, today, rely on high-performing teams to maximize their return on investment. JobBliss is a Freelancer/Contractor Management System. We provide tools to build, manage, and track your external, flexible workforce.
Our solution optimizes your team processes to save you time and money. We maintain data security and ensure that your company meets all compliance standards. Schedule a free demo today to learn more about our services.